Hacks for going to the shopping mall with preschoolers
I generally avoid the mall, but during the back-to-school shopping season I seem to find myself there at least once or twice. In fact, it's not a bad place to hang out when the kids are antsy and the weather's bad. Kristin offers some great tips for keeping everyone happy (and I like the way she thinks about "sharing" ice cream):
1. If your goal is to give the kids some exercise, be as inefficient as possible between stops. If two stores I need to see are right next to each other, I put a small loop in between to maximize foot time.
2. Picnic in the food court. Here in California, food courts frequently have an outdoor seating area, too. No one has ever asked us to stop eating our PBJs! Saves money and helps us avoid deep-fried or other unhealthy foods.
3. We may be healthy eaters in general, but my kids love ice cream. And, sometimes, it's just what mama needs. At the mall, I head to our favorite mix-in ice cream shop and ask for a small scoop with fresh bananas. Then, I make sure our children's portions are mostly banana. The extra benefit here is that mama gets more ice cream. (Oh, don't look at me that way.)
I'll add one more tip: scope out whether you local mall has a play area, or at least a Barnes and Noble with a train table. They get to have fun, and you get to sit down.